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International Inquiry Reveals UAE Funding Genocide in Darfur

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International Inquiry Reveals UAE Funding Genocide in Darfur

An international investigation has verified that the UAE is funding genocide activities in Darfur, including the massacres carried out by the Rapid Support militias, all in pursuit of Abu Dhabi’s aspirations for expansion and influence.”

The Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights’ 72-page report proved that the Rapid Support militias, backed by Abu Dhabi through military and financial aid as well as training, are extensively implicated in genocidal acts.

In April 2023, conflict erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces under Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, also known as “Hemedti.” While it initially erupted in Khartoum, the violence swiftly extended to other urban centers, particularly El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur State.

In El Geneina, a genocide occurred, with reports indicating that more than 1,000 Sudanese from the Masalit and other non-Arab tribes were killed in just two days by the Rapid Support Forces.

Numerous massacres followed, lasting several weeks. Survivors of the massacre gave “chilling” testimonies published by Human Rights Watch and international news agencies over the past year. The witnesses have leveled accusations against the Rapid Support forces, alleging involvement in murder, arson, and rape. Notably, the perpetrators did not hesitate to carry out these offenses, irrespective of the victim’s nationality or religious affiliation.

According to findings from its investigation, the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights stated that “with compelling evidence, the Rapid Support Forces and their allied militias perpetrated genocide against the Masalit community.” The Rapid Support Forces systematically launch attacks and commit atrocities in West Darfur, specifically targeting non-Arab members of the Masalit group.

It emphasized that “the logical conclusion drawn from these recurring patterns indicates an intent to wholly or partially annihilate the Masalit ethnicity.” He highlighted that the Rapid Support Forces persist in instigating massacres against the Masalit community, encompassing the Fur and Zaghawa tribes.

The inquiry stressed the presence of clear and convincing evidence implicating Abu Dhabi as the primary actor, trailed by Libya (via Haftar’s forces), Chad, the Central African Republic, and Russia through the activities of the Wagner Group, which operates under its direct supervision. These entities have been found to furnish the Rapid Support Forces with substantial financial, political, and military backing, directly contributing to the exacerbation of genocide.

The Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights investigation specifically focuses on a segment examining Abu Dhabi’s involvement in what it calls “genocide crimes.”

Military relations between Abu Dhabi and the Rapid Support Forces go back to 2015 when the Rapid Support Forces sent their members to fight alongside Emirati forces in Yemen. The Rapid Support Forces continued to support General Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Abu Dhabi, in Libya.

According to the United Nations Group of Experts on Libya; Abu Dhabi has long supplied Haftar’s militias with advanced weapons systems in violation of a 2011 UN arms embargo.

Subsequently, the bond between Abu Dhabi and the Rapid Support Forces strengthened, with the UAE serving as the hub for the Rapid Support Forces’ resources and affiliated businesses. This arrangement facilitated the enhancement of the Rapid Support Forces’ combat capabilities.

The investigation confirmed that “today’s atrocities in Sudan shed light on how investigations into the financial affairs of the Rapid Support Forces reveal how they built their capabilities and created networks and financing mechanisms in the UAE, including bank accounts and front companies such as Tradive General Trading Company and Al-Junaid Company located in the Emirates.”

The RSF’s financial advisor oversees its network of businesses and organizations. These front companies maintain a consistent financial stream to the RSF and are owned by the Hemedti family.

The Rapid Support Forces also received vehicles worth tens of millions of dollars from Abu Dhabi to be used for military purposes.

The investigation revealed that following Al-Bashir’s overthrow, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh swiftly prioritized their interests in Sudan by offering $3 billion to the Transitional Military Council. They then competed for dominance over the country’s lands, resources, and both economic and political influence.

In December 2022, Abu Dhabi signed a $6 billion deal with Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to build a port on the Red Sea.

The Rapid Support Forces also cooperated with the Russian Wagner Group to protect Abu Dhabi’s share in Sudanese gold mines by guarding the gold and transporting it to Russia via the Emirates. It is an important source of income after the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The United Nations Group of Experts on Sudan determined that the Rapid Support Forces were smuggling gold to Dubai.

In September 2023, The New York Times revealed that Abu Dhabi is conducting a sophisticated secret operation to support the Rapid Support Forces. This support includes supplying them with advanced weapons and drones, providing medical treatment for injured fighters, and airlifting the most critical cases to one of its military hospitals.

Investigations have found that the Rapid Support Forces set up an airport in the Umm al-Qura area near Nyala, South Darfur, to receive UAE aircraft arriving from Libya via eastern Chad. Additionally, the Rapid Support Forces were recently observed unloading military equipment from a plane that had arrived in South Darfur from Abu Dhabi.

Earlier leaked documents disclosed that the Rapid Support Forces employed an Emirati company to obtain funds in Sudan for their activities. This was done through a network of companies operating in both the UAE and Sudan.

The investigation revealed that the United Nations Group of Experts on Sudan and other sources observed near-daily heavy shipments from UAE cargo planes. These planes carried powerful weapons, drones, ammunition, and other military supplies through eastern Chad to the Rapid Support Forces. This support directly enabled the RSF to launch attacks and perpetrate genocide in Darfur.

The investigation indicates that “Abu Dhabi is overtly attempting to disguise its military operations as humanitarian missions for displaced Sudanese civilians. These missions are conducted in an area far from the hundreds of thousands of Darfur residents who fled to Adre, Chad, which is hundreds of miles away from Sudan.”

Abu Dhabi faces other accusations of supplying weapons to the Rapid Support Forces through other locations in Chad and the Central African Republic.

In late December 2023, the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Hemedti, made foreign trips to Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, South Africa, and Rwanda, using Emirati aircraft (ROJ010 – Boeing 737-7JZ).

Yasser Al-Atta, a senior Sudanese general, claimed that Abu Dhabi is providing military support to the Rapid Support Forces through Uganda, the Central African Republic, and Chad.

In February 2024, a Sudanese investigative platform uncovered that a leaked military intelligence report affirmed the transfer of over 100 Rapid Support Forces officers and soldiers from Khartoum to the UAE via plane for military instruction. This training encompassed counter-terrorism tactics as well as the utilization of drones and tanks.

The involvement of the Rapid Support Forces in Western Darfur atrocities led to Abu Dhabi being regarded as a key accomplice in “genocide,” given that the country has been a signatory to the Genocide Convention since 2005.

However, Abu Dhabi expressed reservations when it ratified the International Convention, particularly regarding Article 11 concerning the referral of disputes to the International Court of Justice.

This doesn’t imply that Abu Dhabi’s involvement in the Sudanese genocide cannot be brought before the Court of Justice. Recently, the state implicitly acknowledged the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in genocide cases during its first intervention before the court last February, particularly in its remarks on the genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The inquiry determined that Abu Dhabi is accountable for aiding and abetting genocide, contravening the agreement due to its substantial, direct, and enduring military, economic, and political backing of the Rapid Support Forces. This support empowered them to perpetrate genocide in Darfur.

The investigation said, “Abu Dhabi’s complicity is further confirmed by its efforts to cover up the atrocities committed by the Rapid Support Forces by signaling a commitment to the peace process, while secretly fueling the violence.”

Abu Dhabi is also responsible for the failure to prevent genocide, given its extensive influence over the RSF and the dynamics on the ground in Darfur. A coalition of governments has already imposed sanctions on specific UAE-based companies for supporting the Rapid Support Forces.

The investigation findings suggested that Abu Dhabi’s foreign policy either actively backs genocide crimes through the provision of weapons, funds, and military cooperation, as seen in Sudan, or indirectly encourages such crimes through ongoing security and diplomatic collaboration, as observed in the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip.

As a result, doesn’t the release of such reports motivate Emirati politicians in Abu Dhabi to reassess their strategy and fully abandon these troubling policies from the country’s past? This could prevent the country from facing prolonged stigma in the future.